What is a Hydrocele? | What Can I Expect from Surgery? | Time Off Work | Tips for the Day of | Care of the Incision | Food after Surgery | Bathing Instructions | Activity | Daycare/School

What is a Hydrocele?

A Hydrocele is an excess of fluid in the sac within the scrotum. Hydroceles occur in boys. They are caused by an opening between the abdomen and the scrotum. You may notice that the hydrocele swelling decreases when he is resting or lying down. When he gets more active or cries, the hydrocele gets larger. These are normal changes with a hydrocele.

Hydroceles are generally not painful. If your child appears to be having pain or discomfort, this may indicate that a hernia is also present. Please call our office to reevaluate your child.

What Can I Expect from Surgery?

Most hydroceles shrink over several months as the body absorbs the fluid. If the hydrocele is still present at one year of age, surgery is planned. The fluid is drained and the opening into the abdomen is closed.

The operation is done on an outpatient basis. This means your child is brought to the hospital on the day of surgery and then goes home a few hours after he recovers. No lab work is needed unless there are other medical problems.

  • Important Notes
    • Please keep the office staff up to date with a change in phone number, address or pediatrician. We may need to reach you in an emergency.
    • If your child becomes ill (fever, rash, cold) the week before surgery please contact our office immediately 410-328-5730.

Time Off Work

Plan on a total of 3-5 days off work including the surgical day. This will allow for 2 quiet days after the operation.

Tips for the Day of Surgery

  • Bring for your son:
    • A variety of favorite toys, music tapes, or books to encourage quiet time
    • A special toy or security blanket that may help to comfort you child
    • Extra pacifiers or teething toys to help soothe your baby
    • A change of clothes and loose clothes to wear home from the hospital
  • Bring for Yourself:
    • Any activity you enjoy to help pass the time.
    • Snacks or money to buy yourself a meal. Please do not eat in front of your child.
  • It is best, when possible, to make arrangements for siblings to stay at home on the day of surgery, in order for you to participate fully in your child’s care.

Care of the Incision

There will be an incision in the inguinal skin crease. Steristrips may be applied. A clear plastic or gauze dressing will cover. If it is a clear plastic dressing, carefully remove it after 5 days. Change the gauze dressing if it becomes wet or soiled. Remove the gauze dressing in 3 days. Expect bruising and swelling for 3-5 days. No sutures go through the skin layer, so none are to be removed.

Feeding Your Child After Surgery

Your child may have a regular diet for age, however his/her appetite may not be normal for 24-36 hours. This is normal. If so, give frequent small amounts of clear liquids (juice, soda, sugar water).

Constipation is common after surgery. Anesthesia and pain medicine (Roxicet) can contribute to constipation. Give your child plenty of clear liquids after surgery. Call the office if you child goes longer than 48 hours without a bowel movement.

Bathing Instructions

Keep the diaper area clean and dry. DO NOT rub or pull. There will be some swelling and bruising around the scrotum for at least 3-5 days. Only a sponge bath or shower for 5 days.


  • 0-8 months: Normal activity for age
  • 8 months- 2-1/2 years: Be careful to avoid toddler accidents
  • 2-1/2 years - 12 years: Quiet supervised play for 24-48 hours. NO running, contact sports or vigorous activity for 4 weeks.


Your child must be closely supervised to avoid accidents for 14 days. He may return to school 48-72 hours after surgery. No physical education classes for 4 weeks.

Call 410-328-5730 for any questions or if there is:

  • Bleeding or excessive drainage

  • Fever above 101 F

  • Vomiting

  • Not making urine (or decrease in wet diapers)

*If you have any questions about the surgery, please call: the nurse practitioner or surgeon caring for your child: 410-328-5730.